The New York Yankees will play their final regular-season game at the Metrodome on Thursday. That could be good news for the Minnesota Twins, who haven’t found a place where they can beat one of the AL East’s top teams this year.
The Yankees went a combined 13-0 in the regular season against Minnesota in 2002 and 2003, and 4-0 in Minneapolis en route to AL division series wins in 2003 and 2004.
The Twins haven’t won a season series against New York since 2001, and they’re 0-6 this year. After the Yankees cruised to a 10-2 victory Tuesday, they held on for a 4-3 win Wednesday.
Three of New York’s wins in a four-game sweep of the Twins from May 15-18 at Yankee Stadium were one-run victories. The other came by a two-run margin.
“We’re competing with them, but we’ve got to beat them,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It’s the same story: We’re one hit away in almost every ball game.”
The Yankees (50-34) have won 12 of 14 overall and seven straight on the road as they continue to apply pressure to Boston in the AL East, trailing the Red Sox by one game. New York will be trying to win an eighth consecutive road game in a single season for the first time since a nine-game run early in 1998.
With Chien-Ming Wang(notes) (shoulder) back on the disabled list, the Yankees will turn to Aceves (5-1, 2.03 ERA) for his first start of the season. The right-hander already has two wins against the Twins, pitching a pair of perfect innings on May 16 and 17.
It may be tougher to earn a victory as a starter, as he’ll be limited to about 65 pitches. Aceves made four starts in September, going 1-0 with a 2.74 ERA.
“He’s a four-pitch guy. He’s done it before,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We were comfortable going to him.”
Liriano has shown signs of progress lately. He lasted seven or more innings just twice in his first 13 starts, but he’s done it three times in his last four outings. On Saturday, he allowed three runs in seven frames while striking out eight, but didn’t factor in a 4-3 win over Detroit.
“He’s getting there,” Gardenhire said. “That’s the Liriano we need.”
The left-hander’s first start against the Yankees came on May 15. He surrendered one run in six innings despite walking six, and didn’t receive a decision in New York’s 5-4 win.
The Twins (43-42) will be trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak in more than a month. It would be their second three-game home slide in eight games, however, after they started 24-13 in their final season at the Metrodome.